If you are considering a cruise to the Norwegian Fjords you may be wondering when is the best time to visit. I have cruised to Norway twice and during this post, we will explore the best time to visit in regards to weather, price, and availability.
When is The Best Time to Cruise to The Norwegian Fjords?
The best time to cruise to Norway is in July or August. Alternatives include May, June, and September which can often be much cheaper but still provide good weather.
Norwegian Fjords cruises do happen year-round although the choice of cruise lines is dramatically less outside of the summer season.
Norwegian Fjords Cruise Calendar
Should You Cruise to Norway in Winter?
Good for: Northern Lights, Fewer Crowds
Bad for: Variety of Cruise Lines, Day Light Hours
Hurtigruten is the only cruise line that cruises consistently to the Norwegian Fjords year-round. In January, February, and March, Hurtigruten cruises head in search of the Northern Lights. Some of their cruises even have a ‘free cruise’ guarantee if you don’t see the northern lights!
The Northern Lights Promise
The Northern Lights promise offers guests travelling on Hurtigruten Northern Lights Voyage the security of knowing that if the lights do not occur during their voyage, they will receive a free voyage to try again. – source.
Who Are Hurtigruten? – Hurtigruten are an expedition cruise line that focuses on cruises to Norway and Antarctica. They are heavily focused on the destinations and provide lots of interesting excursions. The ships were originally designed to transport mail (and still do) as a result you won’t see all of the amenities that you’d find on new British or American cruise ships. Hurtigruten does welcome cruisers of all ages but they don’t have kids clubs or entertainment onboard for children.
Other Cruise Lines
Other cruise lines do cruise the Norwegian Fjord during this time but they tend to be few and far between. It may be possible to find a Norwegian Fjords cruise with Saga, Viking or Cruise & Maritime during the winter months.
It is worth remembering that in Norway in the winter the days are extremely short. In places like Tromso the sun never actually rises above the horizon. Even in places lower down like Oslo they only experience around 6 hours of daylight a day in January.
Should You Cruise to Norway in Spring?
Good for: Price
Bad for: Weather
The Norwegian Fjords really begin to wake up in April and May. The number of cruise lines available increases dramatically. Cruise lines such as Celebrity, Holland America, Cunard, MSC, and Princess arrive on the scene.
Cruises at this time of the year can be much cheaper than later on in the season so if you want to grab yourself a bargain this can be a good time to do so. The UK Easter holidays can briefly increase the cruise prices but in May the prices usually reduce again.
What Is The Weather Like in Norway During April and May?
The weather at this time of year can be unpredictable. That said, the weather at any time of year can be unpredictable in the Norwegian Fjords. It is likely to be relatively cold with an average temperature for May of 12c (53f). Norway does have a lot of rainfall so you should always make sure you pack a coat. I wouldn’t let this put you off cruising at this time of year though, I cruised to the Norwegian Fjords at the end of June and still had rain every day. It is just luck of the draw.
To find out how to make the most of your Norwegian Fjord cruise, even in the rain, make sure you read this post: Norwegian Fjords Cruise 32 Tips
Should You Cruise to Norway in Summer?
Good for: Weather
Bad for: Price
This is by far the peak season for Norwegian Fjords cruises. Prices peak in late July and August during the school holidays. The Norwegian Fjords is a very popular destination for family cruises because many depart from the UK and only take a week or two.
What Is The Weather Like in Norway During June, July, and August?
This is the warmest part of the year. The average temperature in July is around 20c (68f), temperatures can on occasion reach 30c (86f) although this is not common.
I took a Norwegian Fjords cruise in late June with P&O Cruises. Despite it being the warmest time of the year it rained, every, single, day. If you are from the UK this might not come as a surprise. The weather in Norway is comparable to that which you may experience in the summer in the UK. Rather annoyingly the week before I took my Norwegian Fjords cruise Norway experienced a heatwave and had temperatures of 30c+!
Finding The Midnight Sun:
At this time of the year, Norway experiences long days. In some parts of Norway like Tromso in the arctic circle, the sun doesn’t actually set at all. I took a cruise with Viking in August which was called ‘In Pursuit of The Midnight Sun’ which was AMAZING.
If you are somebody who doesn’t sleep very well with daylight outside it may be worth booking an inside cabin if cruising to Norway in summer. I could sleep anywhere so this doesn’t affect me but I know a few people who struggle to sleep with any light coming in around the curtains!
To learn more about the midnight sun and what it is like to cruise into in, check out this post: Viking Sea, Into The Midnight Sun.
Should You Cruise to Norway in Autumn/Fall?
Good for: Price, Autumnal Colours
Bad for: Weather, Variety of Cruise Lines
The weather gets a little bit more temperamental into September and October. Most cruise lines have left the Norwegian Fjords by October so there are very limited options. Cruises which still go to the Norwegian Fjords at this time tend to do so as part of a longer cruise.
What Is The Weather Like in Norway During September and October?
The average temperature is 13c (55f) in September, falling in 7c (44f) in October. Storms are more likely at this time of year which may mean an increase in ports being cancelled or itineraries amended.
I’ve been on a number of cruises where my itinerary has been changed, sometimes this happens months in advance and sometimes only a day or a few hours. To find out more about why this can happen and what you can do about it, check out this post: Do You Get Compensation For Missed Cruise Ports?
Should You Cruise to Norway in November or December?
Good for: Northern Lights
Bad for: Variety of Cruise lines, Weather
I personally would say that this time of the year is the worst time to visit the Norwegian Fjords. Your chances of seeing the Northern Lights do increase as you get further in December and January but November doesn’t really have any redeeming features. Of course, this is just my opinion.
I usually love cruising in November because it is cheap but prices don’t really drop in the Norwegian Fjords at this time as there are so few options.
What Is The Weather Like in Norway During November and December?
In November the average temperature is 0c (32f) and this drops to -7c (19f) in December.
I would personally choose to cruise either at the start of the cruise season in May or June, or later in September. Price is a big factor when I choose a cruise and because these are outside of the main summer season these are cheaper. I’d also love to see the Northern Lights but I haven’t been on an expedition cruise, YET!
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